Loyola drops finale to Iona, sets loss mark

Greyhounds' 26 defeats in season a school record

March 01, 2004|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

For Loyola coach Scott Hicks, the boiling point in a season of frustration came 10:33 into the first half of yesterday's game against Iona.

With his team getting outplayed and out-hustled by the Gaels, the fourth-year coach called a timeout to vent. "Wake up!" Hicks screamed at his listless players.

As has been the case often this season, however, the Greyhounds never did, falling behind by double-digits early and never recovering during an 81-53 loss in their regular-season finale before a small gathering at Reitz Arena.

"Right now we're not playing with confidence," said Hicks. "We had a long stretch of games where we were losing, but we were playing hard. These last two games we've been blown out. We need to regroup mentally."

The defeat dropped Loyola to 1-26 overall and 1-17 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, breaking a school record for losses in a season. The Greyhounds will be the 10th seed in the MAAC tournament in Albany, N.Y., opening play Friday at 4:30 against fifth-seeded Rider.

To advance, the Greyhounds will need a better effort than the one they produced yesterday.

Iona (10-17, 8-10), which had beaten Loyola by 17 in December, was without leading scorers Steve Smith (academically ineligible) and DeShaun Williams (suspended from team), who together burned the Greyhounds for 38 in the first meeting.

But if the Gaels were depleted, it didn't show.

Iona, coached by former Washington Bullets standout Jeff Ruland, beat Loyola to loose balls, dominated on the glass and consistently turned turnovers into easy baskets in scoring 29 of the next 33 points to build a 31-9 lead.

Iona, led by 6-foot-9 forward Greg Jenkins (16 points) and sophomore guard Steve Burtt (20 points) scored 17 straight at one point during the stretch, with the Greyhounds going nearly eight minutes between field goals.

"It was the defensive pressure," said Ruland. "We created turnovers, got up and down and got easy shots out of transition."

The lead ballooned to as many as 24 before halftime and 33 by late in the second half. Sophomore guard Charlie Bell led Loyola with 14 points, but was just 3-for-14 from the field.

IONA-McCullough 3-5 3-3 9, Soliver 4-9 1-2 11, Burtt 8-11 1-1 20, Bruin 3-7 2-6 8, Jenkins 7-9 2-4 16, Moroney 0-0 0-0 0, Atkins 2-4 0-0 4, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Marshall 4-9 0-0 8, Wachsmann 1-3 3-4 5. Totals 32-57 12-20 81.

LOYOLA-Bell 3-14 7-8 14, James 2-5 0-0 5, Chatman 3-6 0-0 7, Chivers 2-5 0-0 4, Tuck 2-7 0-0 4, Allen 0-2 0-0 0, Corrigan 1-3 0-0 2, Hinds 3-4 7-11 13, Nijaradze 2-5 0-1 4. Totals 18-51 14-20 53.

Halftime-Iona 43, Loyola 24. 3-point goals-Iona 5-11 (Burtt 3-5, Soliver 2-5), Loyola 3-14 (Chatman 1-2, James 1-2, Bell 1-5). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Iona 41 (Bruin 9), Loyola 28 (Allen 7). Assists-Iona 13 (Soliver 5), Loyola 8 (James 3, Tuck 3). Total fouls-Iona 21, Loyola 16. Technicals-Soliver. A-653.

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